California Class Action Lawsuit Claims California Wineries are Lacing Products with Arsenic

April 8, 2015 -Many California wine lovers may be eyeing their favorite local wines with a more suspicious eye after recent accusations that 28 different California wineries are generating arsenic-laced products for the public. The class action lawsuit against the low-cost winemakers was filed earlier this month alleging that they were selling wines containing high levels of a known carcinogen: inorganic arsenic.

This alleged action would be in violation of California state law in which it prohibits knowingly producing, marketing and selling wine contaminated with arsenic. The 28 wineries are also accused of failing to provide consumers with a warning of the potential danger of their products. This is also a violation of California state law.

If you’re wondering if you harbor any of the potential offenders in your own wine collection you may want to be aware of the following brands of wineries included in the lawsuit: Glen Ellen, Beringer, Charles Shaw, and Sutter Home. In the lawsuit, it states that there was an independent testing completed by BeverageGrades out of Denver, Colorado. The lab completed tests for 1,306 different wines with 83 of them with “elevated” arsenic levels. The tests were initially completed in order to determine what the wines were “made of,” but after results were received they could only be described as very disturbing.

The Wine Institute, as a representative of over 1,000 wineries, responded to accusations saying that the allegations were “false and misleading.” They continued their statement to define arsenic as a natural element in the environment all around us: in our air, water, food and soil. Wines, as an agricultural product, will naturally contain trace amounts of arsenic (as do juices, vegetables, grains, etc.) They also stressed that there is no valid research that shows that the trace amounts of arsenic found in agricultural products such as wine pose a health risk for consumers. 

The lawsuit does not request specific financial recompense. Instead it seeks civil penalties and damages. For additional information on southern California class action lawsuits contact Blumenthal, Nordrehaug & Bhowmik